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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Greek Coins| ▸ |Hellenistic Monarchies| ▸ |Armenian Kingdom||View Options:  |  |  | 

Armenian Kingdom

The ancient Kingdom of Armenia existed for six centuries, divided into successive reigns by three royal dynasties: Orontid (321-200 BC), Artaxiad (189 BC-12 AD) and Arsacid (52-428). The Persian satrapy Armenia became a kingdom in 321 B.C. after Alexander's conquest of Persia. Under the Seleucid Empire, Armenia was divided into Armenia Major and Sophene, both of which passed to members of the Artaxiad dynasty in 189 B.C. The Kingdom of Armenia peaked from 83 to 69 B.C., under Tigranes the Great, after it reincorporated Sophene and conquered the falling Seleucid Empire. Armenia was an empire for a brief period, until it was conquered by Rome in 69 B.C. The Artaxiad kings ruled as clients of Rome until, suspected of allegiance to Parthia, they were overthrown in 12 A.D. During the Roman-Parthian Wars, the Arsacid dynasty was founded when Tiridates I, a member of the Parthian Arsacid dynasty, was proclaimed King of Armenia in 52. The Kingdom of Armenia often served as a client state or vassal at the frontier of the two large empires and their successors, the Byzantine and Sassanid empires. From 114 to 118, Armenia briefly became a Roman province. In 301, Tiridates III proclaimed Christianity as the state religion, making the Armenian kingdom the first state to officially embrace Christianity. Armenian Kingdom

Armenian Kingdom, Queen Erato, Sole Reign, c. 13 - 15 A.D.

|Armenian| |Kingdom|, |Armenian| |Kingdom,| |Queen| |Erato,| |Sole| |Reign,| |c.| |13| |-| |15| |A.D.||octachalkon|NEW
This interesting issue was struck during the short sole reign of Queen Erato, the last of the Orontid line to rule Armenia. It is uncertain if 3rd regnal year on the reverse takes into account her earlier joint reign with her half-brother and husband Tigranes IV in 2 B.C. - 1 A.D. Erato's sole reign may have lasted as long as three years or perhaps less than one one year. In any case, the sole rule of a queen was a novum in Armenian history, as was the depiction of the city walls of Artaxata on a coin. We may presume that Erato, as a woman, felt especially pressured to boast military strength in her royal self-representation, leading her to radically change the Armenian numismatic iconography in a time of increasing Parthian pressure.
GB113378. Bronze octachalkon, Kovacs 187, Bedoukian CCA -; Nercessian ACV -; MDHRAC -, F, green patina, highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, weak legends not visible - as on most known specimens, weight 11.925 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 180o, Artaxata (Artashat, Armenia) mint, sole reign, c. 13 - 15 A.D.; obverse BA - EPAT, diademed and draped bust of Erato right; reverse aerial view of the city walls of Artaxata, in the shape of an octagon, with six tall round defense towers and two gateways, [E - G] (regnal year 3) above; extremely rare; $1500.00 SALE PRICE $1350.00

Kingdom of Armenia Minor, Uncertain King, c. 2nd Century B.C.

|Armenian| |Kingdom|, |Kingdom| |of| |Armenia| |Minor,| |Uncertain| |King,| |c.| |2nd| |Century| |B.C.||AE| |12|
The legend on the reverse is blundered, probably Aramaic, though some have identified it as pseudo Greek. In any case, it is illegible on all of the, about a dozen, examples known to FORVM. Without a legible inscription, the king and his queen are unidentified and likely to remain so.
GB98190. Bronze AE 12, Unpublished, Kovacs -, et al. -, VF, dark patina, well centered, uneven strike with bottom weak on both sides, weight 1.067 g, maximum diameter 11.6 mm, die axis 0o, c. 2nd century B.C.; obverse head of Armenian king left, wearing bashlyk tied with a diadem, uncertain Aramaic legend around; reverse draped bust of uncertain queen to right; about a dozen known to FORVM; $215.00 SALE PRICE $172.00

Armenian Kingdom, Tigranes IV and Erato, Second Reign, c. 2 B.C. - 4 A.D.

|Armenian| |Kingdom|, |Armenian| |Kingdom,| |Tigranes| |IV| |and| |Erato,| |Second| |Reign,| |c.| |2| |B.C.| |-| |4| |A.D.||dichalkon|
This remarkable type was only discovered in 1978. In 2014, one of the best examples to come to auction but still only aVF, realized $12,370 plus fees! In "Tigranes IV, V, and VI: New Attributions" in AJN 20 (2008), Frank Kovacs convincingly attributes this type to Tigranes IV and notes the view is of Mt. Ararat from the perspective of the city of Artaxata. The beardless portrait fits the youthful Tigranes IV and, although not visible on most examples, the legend on the reverse, φIΛOKAIΣAP, refers to the Armenian king's affection for his Roman ally, Augustus.
SH85956. Bronze dichalkon, Kovacs AJN 20 p. 340 and pl. 81, 5; Bedoukian CCA 128 (Tigranes II); Nercessian ACV 122 (Tigranes II); MDHRAC -, F, porous, weak legends not visible - as on most known specimens, weight 4.214 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Artaxata (Artashat, Armenia) mint, 2nd reign, c. 2 B.C.; obverse ...EME - TIΓPAN (or similar), jugate busts of Tigranes and Erato right, Tigranes draped and wearing a tall Armenian tiara with five point and ornamented with a star; reverse ΦIΛOKAIΣAP (friend of Caesar), twin peaks of Mount Ararat, as seen from the Armenian capital Artaxata, A (regnal year 1) below; extremely rare; SOLD

Kingdom of Sophene, Armenia, Arsames II, c. 240 - 220 B.C.

|Armenia|, |Kingdom| |of| |Sophene,| |Armenia,| |Arsames| |II,| |c.| |240| |-| |220| |B.C.||chalkous|
The Kingdom of Sophene was a Hellenistic-era political entity situated between ancient Armenia and Syria. Ruled by the Orontid dynasty, the kingdom was culturally mixed with Greek, Armenian, Iranian, Syrian, Anatolian and Roman influences. Founded around the 3rd century B.C., the kingdom maintained independence until c. 95 B.C. when the Artaxiad king Tigranes the Great conquered the territories as part of his empire. Sophene laid near medieval Kharput, which is present day Elazig. Sophene_Map
GB67178. Bronze chalkous, Nercessian ACV 8; Bedoukian ANSMN 28, 7, aF, weight 3.372 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Persepolis (Fars Province, Iran) mint, c. 240 - 220 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust right, wearing flat-topped tiara; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ APΣAMOY, eagle standing right on thunderbolt; very rare; SOLD


Babelon, E. Les Rois de Syrie, d'Arménie, et de Commagène, Catlogue de monnaies grecques de la Bibliothèque Nacionale. (Paris, 1890).
Langlois, V. Numismatique de l'Arménie. (Paris, 1859).
Bedoukian, P. "Coinage of the Armenian Kingdoms of Sophene and Commagene" in ANSMN 28 (New York, 1983).
Bedoukian, P. Coinage of the Artaxiads of Armenia. RNS Special Publication 10. (London, 1978).
Gardner, P. Catalogue of Greek Coins in the British Museum, The Seleucid Kings of Syria. (Forni reprint, 1963).
Kovacs, F. "Additions and corrections to Armenian coins and their values" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 30/3 (2004).
Kovacs, F. Armenian Coinage in the Classical Period. CNS 10. (Lancaster, PA, 2016).
Kovacs, F. "Tigranes IV, V, and VI: New Attributions" in AJN 20. (2008).
Lindgren, H. Lindgren III: Ancient Greek Bronze Coins from the Lindgren Collection. (Quarryville, 1993).
Mousheghian, A. & G. Depeyrot. Hellenistic and Roman Armenian Coinage (1st c. BC - 1st c. AD). Moneta 15. (Wettern, 1999).
Mousheghian, K., et al. History and Coin Finds in Armenia: Coins from Duin, Capital of Armenia. Moneta 18. (Wetteren, 2000).
Nercessian, Y. Armenian Coins and Their Values. ANS Special Publication No. 8. (Los Angeles, 1995).
Nercessian, Y. Catalogue of Armenian Coins Collected by Y.T. Nercessian. Armenian Numismatic Society, Special Publication 14. (Los Angeles, 2008).
Nercessian, Y. "Coinage of the Armenian Kingdom of Sophene (ca. 260-70 B.C.)" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 37.3. (Sep 2011).
Nercessian, Y. Silver Coinage of the Artaxiad Dynasty of Armenia. (Los Angeles, 2006).
Nercessian, Y. "Silver Coins of Artavasdes II of Armenia" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 29-1. (March 2003).
Nercessian, Y. "Silver Coins of Tigranes II of Armenia" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 26-3 & 4. (December 2000).
Nercessian, Y. "Tigranes the Great of Armenia and the Mint of Damascus" in Armenian Numismatic Journal 22-1 (March 1996).
Newell, E. Late Seleucid Mints in Ake-Ptolemais and Damascus. ANSNNM 84 (1939).
Vardanyan, R. "A Dated Copper Coin of Artaxias II: Evidence on the Use of the Pompeyan Era in Artaxata" in Armenian Numismatic Journal XXVII (2001).

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